What has always engaged me is working with practitioners who are deepening their commitment to the Dharma and then seeing them take a quantum leap in their understanding. My contribution to this commitment is working towards conveying a Theravadan practice with a Mahayana spirit.
The Theravadan practice of vipassana provides simple, direct instructions that can be immediately understood and applied in daily life as well as retreat practice. The Mahayana spirit has the beautiful attitude that we practice not for ourselves alone, but for all sentient beings. Between the two, the unfolding of liberation for ourselves and others becomes a simple, down-to-earth practice that anyone can do.
It is fun for me to take the most difficult concepts and put them into accessible language, to unwrap the mystery. So I try to find ways to explore the breadth of concepts like "emptiness" -- to see how the entire path can be explained in terms of this synonym for nibbana. One of my aims is to bring the goal of freedom into the here and now. This way practitioners get a taste of freedom, so they know what they are heading toward on their journey to liberation.
The tools of mindfulness and lovingkindness can be picked up by anyone. They are easy to understand and they bring immediate benefit to our lives. The essence of vipassana is ideally suited to western society, especially to the resonance between our psychological turn of mind and our quest for spiritual understanding.
Jake Dartington has practised Buddhist meditation since 1995 and trained as a meditation teacher with Christina Feldman, the co-founder of Gaia House in Devon. He began to teach retreats and meditation courses in 2007. As well as teaching at Gaia House, Jake leads daylong and evening courses at various places around the country. He teaches Insight Meditation, Mindfulness courses and yoga in Nottingham.
Jaya Karen Rudgard began meditating in the 1980s and practiced for eight years as a nun in the Theravada tradition with Ven. Ajahn Sumedho. A graduate of the IMS/Spirit Rock Teacher Training, she teaches insight meditation and mindfulness in the UK and internationally.
Jitindriya (aka Loraine Keats) has been practicing Buddhist meditation and spiritual inquiry for over 30 years, 17 of which was as a Buddhist nun (Ajahn Jitindriya) in the Thai Forest Tradition of Ajahn Chah and Ajahn Sumedho. Jitindriya has taught meditation internationally and has a Master's degree in Buddhist Psychotherapy Practice. She lives in Northern NSW, Australia where she teaches meditation and Dhamma, and offers mindfulness-based psychotherapy for private clients.
JoAnna Hardy has practiced in multiple traditions since 1999, and in 2005 her practice landed on the Theravada insight tradition. Retreat teaching, bringing the Dharma to communities and individuals who don't typically have access to traditional settings, and building multicultural community are her focus. She is a co-founder of the Meditation Coalition: meditationcoalition.org